Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's Good When It's Good

     Oh Baby do I love me some hopper action.  We found ourselves at an undisclosed location Sunday in the middle of a full on feeding frenzy.  It was the trout vs. the grasshoppers and although there are more hoppers than trout, I would say the trout had the upper hand.  Of course we were also in the mix and managed to fool a fair number of trout ourselves. 
     Things were slow until about noon when the banks erupted with jumping fish.  The trout had laid in wait long enough and it was then that they started their attack.  It was all a person could do to stay focused on the hopper connected to their line while swirls and acrobatic fish threatened to pull their attention away.  I had forgotten the thrill of hopper fishing, especially as intense as this was. It seems I spend so much time fishing spots where this doesn't happen that I forget that sometimes fish are easy to catch when you're at the right place at the right time.      
     My dad, mom, Caitlin and myself virtually had this area to ourselves.  We joined up Bob from Sierra Anglers Fly Shop and his buddy and I can say that we all had a super good time.  I feel comfortable estimating our total caught and released for the day at around 100 fish.  So remember, when the hoppers are happening you better get out on the water. Until next time, see you on the hill.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Independent Independence day

      There's nothing like celebrating our country's independence with a weekend over the pass.  My trip almost got put on hold when one of our "regular" late June snow storms came through and closed the pass during the week.  Luckily the 100 degree weather took care of that problem.  Still amazes me how we can get snow and hit 100 in the same week. 
     Friday afternoon found Thomas, Daniel and I on a quick trip to the bass pond to try the evening top water bite.  Only a few cooperated, but the anticipation of the explosion of water and fish at that point where the water meets the sky makes it all worth it and keeps your mind fixated at that point indefinitely.  After the hike out I had a decision to make.  Turn left for home to get some sleep or turn right and knock a couple hours off the drive for the morning.  I turned right and my Independent Independence weekend continued.
    After a night sleeping next to the corrals in my truck found me up early and the first person at Kennedy Meadows for breakfast.  Later in the day I would be very happy that I stopped because my next meal wouldn't come until late that evening.  I had a beautiful morning drive over the pass as the sun started to peak up behind the eastern mountains and shine it's rays on the snow covered tops of the Sierras.  I really enjoy the pass without heavy traffic.  It allows you to take your time and enjoy the scenery, maybe even stop for a picture or two. As I came down the pass I stared longingly at the spot where I will back pack later in the year.  The rivers are still to high at this point for exploring places that most certainly are off color and blown out. At this point I was still unsure where I would be fishing for the day, but with the float tube in tow I was leaning towards the reservoir or high country lake.  I stopped by the local sporting goods outfit and this confirmed my choice for the reservoir.
     By 8 o'clock I was kicking out through the weeds in hopes of a visit from that big brown I am always hoping for.  Keep in mind that this was supposed to be a quick little trip.  I figured I would be out in a couple hours unless it was lights out fishing, then of course I would stay the course.  I landed one nice rainbow by 10 but then things got slow.  I shouldn't say things got slow because one fish doesn't incur that things were happening very fast. I was comfortable in the tube so I stuck with it.  As I was kicking around a guide came by and a quick discussion actually had me competing with the locals for top prize with the little rainbow I had landed.  Things were slow.  I noticed him head up to where the river came in and noticed his client land a couple fish.  As I studied the scene I watched as another guide take a phone call from him and immediately head off to join him.  Now I'm in a float tube and these guys have big motors but I would not be left behind.  So off I go, kicking my butt off.  I believe I was 3/4 to a mile from my truck when I reached the river inlet and it was probably 2 o'clock by this time, my water was gone and it was Hot. I studied the guides for a while as they pulled multiple fish out of their holes and formulated my plan.  They eventually moved off and I swooped in.  I got nothing in their spots but I slowly moved down weaving my way through the channel created from the river flowing through the weeds.  The one thing I took from the guides was when you found the fish stick to that spot because there is more than one.  I believe this is due to the fact that the rainbows are spawning at this time.  I moved down and it finally happened like it's supposed to.  I set myself up on the weed edge, kicking constantly to keep myself in position.  My indicator went down and I was immediately in a battle.  I think I did 3 or 4 circles before the big bow came to the net.  A few pictures and a nice release for the tired fish and I was ready for more.  It took me a couple minutes to untangle the flies from the net.  This situation ticked me off because I was using my dad's net.  Mine is rubber and doesn't tangle flies.  His is not rubber and this problem occured with every fish.  The very next cast saw my indicator go down again and after a few more circles was rewarded with a nice male wearing his spawning colors.  I repeated this routine for the next half hour and landed 3 more fish.  As I kicked the mile back to shore I thought to myself  "that's how it's supposed to happen," and thanked the lord for that experience.  I reached shore 9 hours from when I put in.  I was tired, hungry, thirsty and extremely sun burnt but it was all worth it for that short period of intense action.
     That night I stayed at a friend's ranch in Coleville and shared my story over a few cold ones and a steak dinner before exhaustion got the better of me.  The next day I found myself exploring and helped with a cattle drive across the highway.  I fished another spot for a couple hours but high winds blew me out and I just couldn't kick anymore.  I headed home that night so I could enjoy the festivities of the fourth but my thoughts go back to that day when the fishing was, as it is supposed to be.

The sun comes up on the Sierras

Deadman Creek

Under cut snow bank

Hmm. Late snow?

First one of the day

A view to fish by

I bet I can outfish the rich folk


Big hen

Nice Color

Big Buck

About to cross the highway

That's high water

Off into the Sunset

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Quick Jaunt Over the Big Hill

     There is something about the high country that draws me to it.  It might be that moment when you're sitting at your campsite next to the river, watching the sun go down in between the clouds moving in.  It might be that moment when that big brown swats at your fly, and you think what could have been.  Whatever it is, I belong here.
      The Eastern Sierras have become my favorite place to explore.  There aren't many places left that you can completely get away from the crowds but thankfully many people avoid going over the pass this time of year. Caitlin and I ventured over the pass this last weekend.  The pass has been open and closed on a regular basis the last few weeks with snow still falling when a storm comes through.  All this snow means the rivers are high.  The EW was up 200 cfm from the previous week making the fishing tough.  2 swats at a dry and one hook up and release on a nymph is all I have to speak of in that department.  That didn't stop us from taking a bunch of pictures and having an all around good time.
     We camped next to the river as the sun went down and sat by a fire of sage brush and fence post as we anticipated the day of fishing to come.  We were up early and dressed for success as we ventured off trying to find the right spot for Caitlin to throw her nymph rig.  The water was moving and it was tough.  A couple hours of fishing only got me wishing that I had some size 22 callibaetis drys. A perfectly placed fly on the bank might have enticed  that rising fish to take but a couple bumps on a size 18 pmd was the best I could do. Looks like another trip to the fly shop.  We broke camp and ventured over to the Nevada side and explored the Rosachi Ranch but the river showed more of the same speed and attitude as on our side.  I did find a nice 4x4 road on the other side of the river, but all it produced was a thousand new scratches running parallel down the side of my truck.
     We headed for home with just the memories of the beautiful landscape and the fish that could have been.  We pulled into town and parked between an ice cream shop and a meat market that stated they sell beef jerky.  Those of you that frequent this area will know the spot.  I would like to recommend the ice cream but warn you to avoid the jerky.  Blah! 
      As I drive away from you, my beloved high country, I thank you for being you and until I return you will be in my thoughts and dreams.

Like there's another option

I highly doubt it

Leavitt Meadow


Caitlin waiting for a grab

Not a bad view

At work

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Girl and her Fish

      The day finally came when my girlfriend Caitlin and I actually had the same weekend off of work; and we were going fishing hell or high water. Of course I should say rain or high water because we had both. When people think of California they don't think of rain well into June or the fact that we will have rushing rivers for, most likely, the remainder of this year. So on a cold and rainy June day; we went fishing.
       When I woke in the morning to a constant downpour I was surprised that she still wanted to go out.  Caitlin was very antsy because she had just received a brand new hand crafted fly rod for her birthday.  I won't say who she got it from but if you'd guessed a very handsome fellow with the initials JR, you might be right. Armed with her fly rod, reel and Gortex from head to toe we headed out to see what this day would bring.
       On years when the water is high and my favorite rivers are unfishable we are lucky enough to have a few afterbays that hold decent fish in our area.  The afterbays are created when a dam is constructed just downstream from the main dam of a lake. This area usually holds the same water level year round and fluctuates only in speed of the current. We arrived to find the rain was not being picky on where it fell this day. It decided to just fall everywhere.
      We spent the first few hours fishing in some prime looking water. I decided that an indicator would be best for the rookie. After only a few tangles the casts were looking better and we started to make some different drifts. Nothing biting. I made a couple casts with a bugger and was surprised with 2 fish hooked up but they decided not to enter the boat. Must have been too wet out for them. After this, the light bulb in my head made an appearance. I knew she would not be able to cast this big 'ol bugger very far so I decided to take the girl trolling. Now most of you might think that it's not a big deal to switch rods to the one set up for a certain application, but I can assure you that some people don't see it that way. After some resistance and questions about why she couldn't just use her rod, I finally convinced her to hold on to my rod while I rowed the boat upstream.
     Not 5 minutes into my row upstream and "BAM," Fish On!  I was excited for Caitlin. This would be her first fish she has ever caught. I'm starting to feel real proud of myself when she says, "here, you reel it in." She was so bummed out that she didn't hook the fish on her rod that she didn't even want to reel in the beautiful rainbow. I was quite shocked to say the least but I refused her pleading. She handled the fish like an old pro and I netted it. Couple pictures and quickly back in the water. I could see now that she is excited and convinced that I'm just doing what's best to catch fish. I did not let her down when on a drift downstream she landed a fish with her new rod.
Although the rain did not stop for more than than 5 minutes all day, it turned out to be quite successful.  I am proud of the progress Caitlin made and for being a real trooper.  I know many people who would have never gone out in that rain.
Caitlin and her first fish(caught on my rod)

Caitlin and her second first fish (caught on her rod)

Very handsome

Even more handsome

Throwing meat!

The happy fishermen

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fishing with the stick and string

All things with the compound bow excite me. My bow hunting habit is 2 years old now and I'm completely entrenched in the possibilities that the bow has to offer. If I can use an analogy I would say that "The bow is to hunting what the fly rod is to fishing."  You can achieve the same results as conventional gear but the journey to that point is 10 times harder.

When I heard about bow fishing I knew I would be all in. I have my hunting license and my fishing license so whichever one is required I am prepared.  I got the call at 8:30 that the trip was on. A creek through a newly acquired ranch was open to us thanks to our guide "Big Eggs."  The day was already a success when Ryan dropped two coyotes in one shot. (Saves ammo that way). As we peered over the 40 ft cliff into the creek we were rewarded with dozens of carp lazily swimming through the pool. My heart sank when I realized the shot was going to be pretty damn ridiculous looking over a 40 ft cliff. My first few shots gave me hope when the arrow actually hit close to where I was aiming. "J-Bone," as he wishes to be called, spotted the monster of the group and I took aim. The arrow was on target and hit true. Now I have never shot a fish before so the part where we decided to haul him up the cliff was not the greatest idea. In the excitement of actually hitting him and trying to drag him up the cliff we knew it was too late when the rope when slack and the big monster swam back down into the depths of the pool.

After about an hour and many other failed attempts from the cliff the big carp appeared again struggling for his life. The end was near. He finally made his way closer to the bank where the finishing shot could be made. My arm was sore after I dragged the 20lb carp up the cliff to show the boys my trophy.

Estimated at 20 lbs and measured at 31" long
The cliff on the right is where I took the shot.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing with the Camera

Thanks to my brothers new outlook on photography and his refusal to shoot digital anymore, I find myself with a Nikon D70 to start fooling around with. I snapped a couple photos recently when I had the chance.

The oatfield on a windy day.
Rich and his saddle horse
Stevie and Jeannie
Throwing a loop
The Pump. My personal favorite.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Awesome Photo

There's nothing I love more than great photography. Special thanks to Thomas Goodwin for this shot he captured while on a recent trip to Pyramid Lake. After some crappy weather the fishing starting to pick up towards the end of the weekend. I think that's how it usually goes for the weekend warriors and those who cannot get out as much as they like. The fishing is always good when you're not there or have to leave. Shout out to the people who's jobs allow them to fish when it's good.